The Mac Daddy

When I first started my freelance career in Brazil 15 years ago, a wizened, only-slightly-older-than-me freelance magazine writer named Mac Margolis — now a Cabot-Prize-winning Newsweek correspondent — gave me his formula.

He said his method was to report a story once and sell it as many times as he could. He would write a version for Time, another for The Economist and a third version for an airline in-flight magazine. He would focus the same story on the specific area of interest of each magazine. He’d sell the stories to publications around the world where multiple languages opened a new non-competing market for each story.

To smart fingers on a computer keyboard, this model could work well for Internet journalism where pay per story may be quite low, but the market is huge.

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